Enthusiastic amateurs: Australia's film societies and the birth of audience-driven film festivals in post-war Melbourne

Kirsten Stevens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The global film festivals origins in the post-Second World War era are often considered uniquely European. Yet this period also saw the arrival of a distinctly non-European event. Emerging in 1952 from the Australian film society movement, the Melbourne Film Festival developed as a different type of celebration and in response to its particular local context. Unlike events in Cannes, Venice or Berlin, the MFF was a grassroots celebration, run by film enthusiasts for film enthusiasts. This article examines the development of the Australian film society movement, the origins and operation of MFF as an audience-led festival and, through close examination of the events genesis, offers an intervention into the current understanding of the international film festivals development and spread.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-39
Number of pages18
JournalThe New Review of Film and Television Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016


  • film culture
  • film festivals studies
  • film societies
  • Melbourne film festival
  • Melbourne history
  • Olinda

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